Boulevard Van Iseghem


James Ensor (1860-1949), Boulevard Van Iseghem, Ostend, etching and drypoint, 1889, signed in pencil lower right [also signed and dated in the plate lower right, and annotated “Ostende” lower left]. References: Delteil 66, Taevernier 66, Elesh 66, third state (of 3). In very good condition, with margins (remains of prior hinging verso), printed in greyish/brown ink on ivory simuli-Japan paper, 5 1/2 x 4, the sheet  9 3/4 x 6 1/8 inches, archival window mounting.

A very fine impression, with exquisite detailing and clarity in the complex patterning of shades and textures in the buildings, street and sky.

The impression quality is evidence that this is an early impression. In addition Ensor’s signature conforms to that found in the early printings; it is quite likelythat this was signed about the time the print was created (Ensor had impressions made over a number of years).

This is a view of the seaside town roofs of Ostend, from Ensor’s studio.  In many of his etchings and paintings of the town he filled the streets with people, but here the streets are vacant, but for two tiny carriages parked halfway up the street.

A painting of the same view (and title)  is included in the major Museum of Modern Art show on Ensor; the painting is much more impressionistic than the print (it is not surprising that Ensor would chose this subject for work in various media, since it was the view from his studio, but other than having similar subject matter, the painting and the print do not appear related in any way; in addition the painting was done much earlier, perhaps c. 1880).